Tom Kaeser
Tom Kaeser
It's a long way from Duby Park to Ford Field.

But during pick-up games at the Menominee playground, Ford Field was always just a dream away for members of the Maroon football team.

Even on a quiet summer day, the roar of a Ford Field in your imagination is as clear as the laughter and shouts from your playground teammates.

The goal of every Menominee football player is to play for a state championship. It starts in youth football, grows larger on the Menominee Hornets seventh- and eighth-grade teams and is forged in the learning crucible of freshman and junior varsity football.

When the Maroons take the field against Grand Rapids West Catholic today, the only thing flashy about them will be their 13-0 record and dazzling season statistics. Look closely at these young kids and you notice their jerseys have been patched and sewn. Each rip and tear is like a battle scar of work put in toward reaching their goal as a team.

No need for any flashy logos on the Menominee helmets. When those white helmets enter Ford Field, everyone knows it's Menominee - one of the best Division 5 football programs in the state. The helmets reflect the team - no nonsense just basic hard-nosed football. We're here to play football, not make a fashion statement.

No wonder the Maroons like to call themselves "Rag Tags."

Menominee takes the old saying "Act like you 've been there before" into every game. Lord knows, when you score seven touchdowns a game, you 've been there before. No end zone dances, no taunting of opponents. Just do your job and respect the game and your opponents. When you win as a team, touchdowns don'tt just belong to the player in the end zone. They belong to your teammate who willed himself to block a bigger opponent, another lineman who led the pursuit away from the play or that player on the sideline who prepared you for this game with his efforts on the scout team.

These are traits instilled by former coach Ken Hofer and carried on by the current coaching staff of head coach Joe Noha and assistant coaches Jamie Schomer, Dave Mathieu and Drew Buyarski and volunteer coach "Satch" Englund.

It takes a team to lift a championship trophy. But the Menominee football team is no stranger to heavy lifting. The Maroons have lifted the spirits of their community all season.